Giving It All Up for Faith - An Interview with Eduardo Verastegui
Beliefnet interviews the star of 2006's Bella and one of the members of the great cast for the upcoming historical war epic For Greater Glory.
Where you familiar with the war and your character prior to seeing the screenplay?
When I got the script I knew about this war and this character, but only a few years before. Before that I didn’t know anything. I was completely ignorant about the topic. I didn’t know about the Christeros war, I didn’t know about this dark period of Mexico in the 1920s when religious persecution happened and more than 200,000 people died in a horrible way because of this war. I did not know anything about this because in public school they didn’t teach me [about it]. I felt embarrassed, like I didn’t know about my own history… then I discovered that most of the people in Mexico didn’t know about this topic and I discovered that one of the reasons why it is not taught in public schools… is that we don’t feel proud of what happened in Mexico. We always like to celebrate the beautiful things; our culture, our music, our food, but not this horrible internal war between the government and the church. The second reason is [that] it’s such a delicate thing that they want to bury this wound.
That’s why they didn’t teach any of this in school, but I think it’s the opposite. We need to bring the wound out, heal it, go back to history to study and learn from these decisions that were made at the time, so we don’t commit the same mistakes in the present, so we preserve ourselves from all these horrible consequences. I think people need to stand up when the government is trying to take religious freedom away from the people, and hopefully we don’t make the same mistakes but sometimes people don’t learn you know. We commit the same mistakes over and over expecting the same results but its nuts. It happened in Spain a few years later, it happened in Cuba, and in many other countries. It will happen here now in the States and many parts of the world where the government starts taking the right of religious freedom away.
The character you play is a pacifist, is that something that you identify with?
Yes and no… no because my temper is very explosive. I’m trying to change the things I don’t like about myself and one of them is that. When I see somebody doing an injustice I have this tendency to try and do something right away, I’m trying to change more to Anacleto Gonzalez Flores. He was always trying to defend his faith, his belief, and his religious freedom with peaceful means like wisdom, intelligence, not with violence. I’m learning from him, I feel like I receive more from him than what I gave to this character. So I think this Mexican hero is going to change the lives of so many people, has changed the lives of so many people, including my own life. As an actor I am trying to see if I can do other roles, other characters, where I can learn from them. So by the time I finish I feel like I am a better person. I feel like I am more human by giving myself to portray them and in that process I end up learning so much about their virtues and about their lives and I can put that into practice into my own life.